The AUN/API Peace Through Sports program has contributed a lot to the peacebuilding and empowerment of youths in Adamawa State. The program also has the potential to create more impact and drive development in the local communities.
Former Basketball player and present volunteer coach working with youths in the community, Mr. Marcus Gurzan, also explained that the Peace through Sports program has emerged as a valuable tool to engage the youths for fun, learning, interaction, and bonding and build bridges in the communities most affected by the insurgency.
Coach Marcus told our reporter that the AUN-API-sponsored Peace through Sports program, which began in 2013, has become a platform for numerous humanitarian interventions and public enlightenment and has ensured peaceful coexistence among youths of various communities.
Peace through Sports was reintroduced in Mubi on August 11, 2022. Coach Marcus Gurzan who could not hide his passion for the game, says he feels honored to be part of the program. He also explained how the program could impact social development in the community by bringing people together and creating a platform for unity.
"We begin each session with a frank talk among the participants. They share their problems with us. We immediately resolve those we can and offer advice on those we cannot. Young people are always happy when someone listens to them and offers advice. We sensitize them against violence and social vices like hard drugs and extremism. We also teach them basketball and they pick other survival skills. Their parents are the first to notice the change in the youths."
Coach Marcus believes the program is vital for peacebuilding and helping young people deal with issues relating to conflict and violence and helps them attain and sustain peace in the community.
The coach also commended the rapport between the coaches and the players. "We report serious issues bordering on threats to community peace to the authorities because we are closer to the source."
Coach Marcus was full of praise for the sponsors of the Peace through Sports program, especially Mr. Abdullahi Bello, who coordinates it. "This is the first time we are experiencing this type of intervention in Mubi. Many players come from very remote villages to participate in the training. We are very grateful to AUN, API, and His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, the Founder of the University, for giving us this opportunity.
Reported by Halima Muhammed